Is Ab Training Absolutely Necessary?

March 20, 2016
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Training every muscle in the body should be your goal. No body part should be left behind if you want a balanced physique. One question that comes to mind however is if direct abdomen training is important, since compound movements like deadlifts and squats are already sufficient in working out the person’s anterior core.

Why do you need to have a strong core, anyway?

Balance.

Abdominal strength provides ease in walking, standing, and sitting. The abs offer balance in one’s center of gravity, which can be found just below the belly button or the sacrum.

If a person can only move his or her head, for example, it means his or her core muscles are paralyzed. This makes it impossible to sit without anybody’s help. On the other hand, if he or she is only paralyzed below the waist, he or she will be able to sit without any assistance, since the back and abdominal muscles are intact.

Posture.

As the abs are attached to the pelvis and spine, good posture is achieved through balance. However, back pain occurs when the back muscles and abdominals are not properly supported by the person’s posture. What this means is that you need to strengthen your core to prevent back pain.  

To achieve a good posture, do not slouch when sitting, especially at work. To not slouch, you will need enough back and abdominal endurance to maintain the position. This only shows the importance of the core exercises you perform at the gym or when you exercise at home.

So, is direct anterior core workout necessary?

The answer is yes. If core exercises are something you normally do at the gym, try to remove it for the next few weeks. Continue with other compound movements, like pulls, presses, kettlebell work, squats, and deadlifts. At the end of each week, check the maximum repetitions you can do with each compound movement. After two weeks, you may already recognize the difference in the situation.

People who have tried it made some minor complaints about back ache and little leg wobbliness. They discontinued the practice after that, and then the complaints practically vanished. Once they have experienced the effects, they’ve decided not to skip these exercises even when working out without a trainer.

What kind of training can you do at the gym?

If you’re new to this, it is important to get proper direction because otherwise, the training will not be effective or, you may do things incorrectly. Choose a gym like 24 Hour Fitness, where you can hire a personal trainer, or you can join classes for strength and conditioning. The classes are designed to sculpt every muscle group, especially the core, using moves created to capitalize on caloric expenditure.

Once you’re already confident about working out on your own, you can incorporate the below movements in your exercise. One or two of them (choose depending on what your body requires) should be performed every training session.

  • Dynamic. The actions generate movement through flexion. Included in this category are leg lowers, leg raises, weighed standing crunches, and others. With crunches, the spine is also flexed and trained in different positions.
  • Static. These are motion resistance actions, such as body saws, weighted planks, farmer walks, and planks.
  • Rotational Dynamic. These are actions to give the spine rotating and twisting movements, which stabilizes it as well as makes it more flexible. What you can do are windshield wipers, palloff twists, and Russian twists.
  • Rotational Static. In this category, the focus is not to rotate through the spine. You can perform a palloff press, wherein there’s an alternation of a short lever trying hard to make you rotate, and a longer lever providing more pressure to rotate you. What you need to do is resist the pressure. Deadlifts, single-side carries, and side planks also belong to the anti-lateral-flexion category.

Additional abdominal exercises you are do are: bicycle maneuver, captain’s chair, exercise ball, vertical leg crunch, torso track, long-arm crunch, reverse crunch, crunch with heel push, ab roller, and exercise tubing pull. As the abdomen needs to be trained like your other muscles, do three sets of eight to twelve repetitions, three times a week.

Of course, you can still train at home if you can’t go to the gym on certain days. Use the exercise ball as your chair if you are working on your computer. While sitting on it, you can also do some strength and balance exercises by rolling your hips from side to side, and then forward and backward. Pull your stomach in as you do these motions.

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